Side Effects of Restoril for Insomnia

Woman in pyjamas, looking at refrigerator

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Restoril (generic name Temazepam) is a benzodiazepine used to treat insomnia, which is when a person has difficulty falling asleep or wakes up frequently throughout the night. It's prescribed only for the short-term therapy of insomnia, meaning approximately 7 to 10 days—it's not a medication a person should be taking every night.

Common and Serious Side Effects

There are a number of side effects that may occur with Restoril. Common side effects include:

  • Drowsiness and tiredness that may persist into the next day
  • Headache
  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Feeling hungover-like the next day

Due to the persistent drowsiness that may occur with Restoril, it's important that you not drive or engage in any dangerous activity until the tiredness has worn off and you feel fully awake and safe. In addition, a potentially disturbing and serious effect of taking Restoril is that some people participate in activities when they are sleeping or not fully awake—and they usually do not recall these activities in the morning. Examples include eating, having sex, or even driving. It's really important you notify your doctor if this happens to you or your loved one while taking Restoril.

The likelihood of this serious side effect happening is greater if you drink alcohol or take other medications that make you sleepy. So be sure to avoid alcohol when taking Restoril and tell your doctor all the medications you are taking, including herbals, vitamins, and over-the-counter medications. 

Other potentially serious side effects that warrant you notifying your doctor right away include:

  • Thinking or behaving differently than normal, like confusion or seeing or hearing things that are not really there (hallucinations)
  • Memory loss
  • Anxiety—some people experience a paradoxical reaction with benzodiazepines, meaning they feel more anxious and agitated instead of feeling more sleepy
  • Trouble breathing, swelling of your tongue, mouth, or lips, and nausea or vomiting—this could signal a severe allergic reaction (seek emergency medical attention in this instance)

It's also important to tell your doctor about any other health problems you have besides insomnia, as it may not be safe for you to take Restoril. For instance, if you have a history of drug addiction, Restoril is likely not a good option for your insomnia, as it can lead to both physical and psychological dependence.

Discontinuing Restoril

Serious withdrawal symptoms can occur if you stop taking Restoril suddenly, like seizures. This is why it's important you taper off Restoril gradually under the guidance of your doctor. With that, you still may experience some mild withdrawal symptoms like a depressed mood or problems sleeping.

Bottom Line

Restoril is a good medication when prescribed for the right person, for short-term use, and when under the guidance of a person's doctor.

Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  • Mallinckrodt Inc. (2010). FDA Medication Guide: Restoril. 

By Marcia Purse
Marcia Purse is a mental health writer and bipolar disorder advocate who brings strong research skills and personal experiences to her writing.